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By JoAnna Ness, Apr 9 2019 03:09PM

Joyce Gutstein’s passion for nursing led her to establish scholarships to pay it forward to other students entering the profession. Joyce grew up in Springfield, Illinois, and she was able to study at Memorial Medical Center thanks to a scholarship she received for nursing training. Afterwards, she moved to Chicago and took classes towards a liberal arts degree at University of Illinois. Joyce worked at a hospital while taking classes, and she loved public health nursing. Joyce worked with the Infant Welfare Society in Chicago, making house calls and talking to parents about nutrition and accident prevention. Joyce visited many neighborhoods in the city, and she remarked, “As long as I was in uniform, people would pass by and say ‘hi, nurse!’ and I always felt safe.”

Joyce met her husband, Alfred, who was working at the same hospital while he studied for his bar exam. Alfred grew up in Kendallville, Indiana, and the couple moved to Steuben County after they married 56 years ago. Alfred served as a lawyer for decades, including 12 years as Steuben County’s prosecuting attorney. Joyce joined the organizing committee of the Well Child Clinic in Angola, then served as nurse coordinator there for 22 years. She did health teaching, worked with WIC and the health department to make sure kids had their immunizations, and helped spread good parenting skills. “Al called it my full-time part-time job,” she joked. Joyce increased her hours as her two daughters grew up, both of whom are teachers today. “It’s been a wonderful community to raise a family.” In addition to working with Well Child Clinic, she co-organized interagency meetings with Helen Smatt, a County Nurse at the time, and helped create the first nursery school in Steuben County as a collaboration between the Angola United Methodist and First Congregational United Church of Christ. During much of this time, Joyce was also heavily involved with Santa’s Helpers, helping to create the organization that shopped for over 1000 kids for 30 years.

By JoAnna Ness, Mar 19 2019 03:15PM

Steuben County Council on Aging helps fill a crucial gap for many local seniors. Without the Council on Aging, some seniors would spend more time home alone, and their mental and physical health would deteriorate. Seniors might struggle to find a ride to medical appointments without STAR Transportation, the Council on Aging’s community transportation service that is available for seniors and fee based for those under age 60. In addition to helping address the loneliness that some feel later in life, the Council on Aging helps seniors fulfill everyday tasks like getting a haircut or taking a trip to the grocery. “We all reach that stage when you can no longer drive or do things for yourself, and that’s where the Council on Aging comes in. It’s tough to give up independence, but we try to provide that in other ways,” said Donna Holcomb, Interim Executive Director of Steuben County Council on Aging.

By JoAnna Ness, Mar 18 2019 01:41PM

The SCCF youth philanthropy group known as FIST (Forever Improving Steuben County Together) held their March meeting at Pleasant Lake Elementary. They read personal narratives with a 2nd grade class, and helped with math problems in a 3rd grade class taught by a former FIST member (Miss Sarah Clary). They also held a presentation about FIST with the 5th grade class and helped the students through the process of deciding where to grant $250 to a nonprofit. Thank you to Pleasant Lake Elementary for helping FIST teach Steuben County youth about philanthropy!

FIST has been working to inspire other students to give back. If your nonprofit or classroom has a project that empowers youth to volunteer and become engaged in their community, consider applying for a FIST grant.

By JoAnna Ness, Mar 12 2019 03:00PM

Since 2001, the Humanities Fund at Steuben County Community Foundation has been supporting programs that help boost local talent and bring the arts and humanities to our local community.

Before the fund was created, there was no grant money available for Steuben County kids to attend a summer camp for arts, music, or theatre. Liat Caruso Peters, longtime Humanities Fund council member, explained the importance of these camps, “The students grow in their craft and return home with a new enthusiasm to share.” The council works with the marching band director and other music teachers at local schools to share the grant application with students who are interested. One example of the impact this can have is a former scholarship recipient who was able to attend Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan for a summer camp, then Interlochen Arts Academy for high school. She now studies opera at Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and has been a soloist in the Messiah concert for seven years. “There are many talented students who can excel with expanded learning opportunities,” said Liat. In the future, the council hopes to build its endowment so it can provide a scholarship for a Steuben County student to attend a private high school to study the arts. The council currently provides an annual college scholarship for a student studying the arts after high school, called “Heart of the Arts.”

By JoAnna Ness, Mar 7 2019 06:35PM

Steuben County Community Foundation (SCCF) successfully completed Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) matching grant challenge. Thanks to generous donors who made gifts to SCCF’s unrestricted fund for grantmaking and responding to community needs, SCCF has received the full $500,000 matching grant from Lilly Endowment. With Lilly Endowment’s 2:1 match, SCCF has increased its current and future support for local nonprofits and community projects thanks to the almost $1 million of donations and grant dollars received since October 2018. Upon completion of the matching grant, SCCF will be moving on to the next phase of Lilly Endowment’s GIFT VII initiative. This will include a feasibility study to ensure future growth and success of SCCF’s supporting organization, Steuben County Fiber Network, as well as a number of local community conversations.

The Spirit of Community fund at SCCF helps a wide variety of causes in Steuben County. In 2018 alone, this fund helped improve the quality of early childcare providers, supported the restoration of local nature preserves, and helped dozens of nonprofits enhance their internal capacity to make a difference in the community. Completing this matching grant challenge means SCCF can continue to support nonprofits who provide crucial services to local residents and enhance quality of life, while also having the flexibility to respond to community needs that arise in the future.

“We are grateful for the support from Lilly Endowment Inc. and our local donors who are passionate about Steuben County and believe in SCCF’s mission. This is also a testament to the leadership of our board, including our outgoing board chair, Jim Burns, who has served SCCF for many years and has been instrumental to our growth,” shared Jennifer Danic, SCCF President and CEO.

“This matching grant will help move SCCF forward in grantmaking, and I look forward to seeing the next steps of SCCF as we work to meet the needs of Steuben County,” said Jim Burns, SCCF Board Chair.

Jim Burns has served on the SCCF board for more than nine years, and he will complete his term as Board Chair in June 2019. Jim also served on the Steuben County Fiber Network board and spent four years as the board chair. During this time, he led the rebranding from iMAN to the Steuben County Fiber Network and helped double its reach in the community. In his time with SCCF, the Community Foundation has successfully completed two GIFT matching grant initiatives, and assets available for community grantmaking have grown by more than half a million dollars.